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In a national consultation conducted by the ABS in 2011-12, Australians said that they were concerned about economic disadvantage and inequity, and want to ensure all Australians have basic standards of living (MAP 2013, ABS). In particular, there was a feeling that people should have opportunities to improve their economic wellbeing, regardless of differences in education, socio-economic background or other factors. They also felt that an equitable society contributes to social cohesion.
Economic wellbeing can be monitored using information on:
ECONOMIC WELLBEING AND OUR CHANGING WORLD
There are a range of events, pressures and drivers of change that have the potential to substantially affect economic wellbeing. In relation to economic resources, some examples are:
ECONOMIC WELLBEING AND ACTIONS SUPPORTING WELLBEING
There are many ways that people, community groups, governments and other institutions can work to improve people’s economic wellbeing in Australia. These may particularly improve an individual's capability to take control over their resources and the decisions that affect their lives. Some examples include actions to:
BUT THIS IS NOT THE WHOLE STORY...
To gain a better understanding of economic resources in Australian society, look through the pages on:
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), OECD Framework for Statistics on the Distribution of Household Income, Consumption and Wealth - The framework describes an ideal set of information about economic resources that might be used to describe the distribution of economic wellbeing among households.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), OECD Guidelines for Micro Statistics on Household Wealth - These guidelines provide an internationally agreed set of standard concepts, definitions and classifications for micro wealth statistics and best practice for compiling and analysing wealth statistics.
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), 2011, The Canberra Group Handbook on Household Income Statistics, Second Edition - The framework reflects the current international standards, recommendations and best practice in household income measurement. The framework provides a consolidated reference for those involved in producing, disseminating or analysing income distribution statistics.
System of National Accounts (SNA), 2008 and Australian System of National Accounts (ASNA) - The SNA provides a comprehensive system for measuring the state of the national economy, at the macro level. The ASNA is the framework used to measure Australia’s national economy. It is based on the international SNA and aligns closely with 2008 SNA framework.
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0) - It outlines the major concepts and definitions, describes the data sources and methods used to prepare the estimates, and discusses the accuracy and reliability of the national accounts. The material is designed to enable users to appreciate and more readily assess the significance, accuracy and reliability of national accounting concepts and estimates.
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Standards for Income Variables (1287.0) - Specifies ABS standards for the collection, processing, storage and dissemination of statistics on income. Topics covered include the ABS recommended definitions of concepts, classification criteria, code structures, questionnaire modules and output categories. Issues related to these standards are also discussed
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013, Measures of Australia’s Progress (Economy Domain) (cat. no. 1370.0) - This publication is designed to help Australians address the question, 'Is life in Australia getting better?' Measures of Australia's Progress provides a digestible selection of measures in answer to this question. Australians can use this evidence to form their own view of how our country is progressing. This 2013 release presents a refreshed set of indicators and new areas of progress, based on a public consultation process. See the Economy domain for more information.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Social and welfare publications - The OECD.org website provides some of the latest analysis of economic wellbeing topics. These can be accessed from the home page by selecting the topic Social and welfare issues.
Consumption expenditure is the value of consumer goods and services acquired, used or paid for by a household through direct monetary purchases, own account production, barter or as income in kind.
A method of standardising the income, expenditure or wealth of households to take account of household size and composition differences. For further information see Appendix 3 in the ABS publication Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia, 2011–12 (cat. no. 6523.0)
A range of items designed to provide a subjective measure of a household’s economic wellbeing. The financial stress questions asked in the ABS Household Expenditure Survey relate to cash flow problems and financial resources. The nine specific financial stress indicators are:
Income consists of all current receipts, whether monetary or in kind, that are received by the household or by individual members of the household, and which are available for, or intended to support, current consumption.
Income includes receipts from:
Gross income is the sum of the income from all these sources before income tax, the Medicare levy and the Medicare levy surcharge are deducted. Other measures of income are Disposable income and Equivalised disposable household income.
Note that child support and other transfers from other households are not deducted from the incomes of the households making the transfers.
Low economic resource (LER) households
Low economic resource households are those that simultaneously have low income and low wealth. The ABS has developed an LER measure that includes households who are concurrently in the lowest four deciles (i.e. 40%) of both equivalised disposable household income (including imputed rent) and equivalised household net worth. It is a relative measure designed to identify people most at risk of experiencing economic hardship compared to measures using income or wealth alone.
Missing out experiences
A range of items designed to provide a subjective measure of a household’s economic wellbeing. The following 'missing out' questions are asked in the ABS Household Expenditure Survey.
Net worth (wealth)
Net worth is the value of a household's assets less the value of its liabilities. Net worth may be negative when household liabilities exceed household assets.
National Sustainability Council, 2013, Sustainable Australia Report 2013: Conversations with the future, Department of the Environment
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013, Aspirations for our nation: A conversation with Australians about progress (cat. no.1370.0.00.002)
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013, Measures of Australia's Progress (cat. no. 1370.0)
McLachlan, R., Gilfillan, G. and Gordon, J. 2013, Deep and Persistent Disadvantage in Australia, Productivity Commission Staff Working Paper, Canberra
Connolly, C, 2014, Measuring Financial Exclusion in Australia, Centre for Social Impact (CSI), University of New South Wales, for National Australia Bank.
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4160.0.55.001 - Frameworks for Australian Social Statistics, Jun 2015
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